Before e-mail, blogging and IM, before Mind Mapping, Lifestreaming and MyLifeBits, before Web 2.0, InfoVis, Wikis, Flickr, Twitter and Twine, the “world’s friendly genius” was creating and documenting his life and the life of those around him in a way millions of people are just beginning to do today. Buckminster Fuller is, simply put, the most well documented human of the 20th century
The fully documented life of any individual might be interesting to some - witness the rapid proliferation of personal blogs in cyberspace today. Yet Buckminster Fuller’s life was far from ordinary. He embarked on his experiment at a unique time in our history – a time of rapid industrialization, the birth of modernism and what Fuller himself called the transition from “a Newtonian to Einsteinian world.” He also played a role in the most interesting cultural intersections of American innovation, influencing the frontiers of vintage futurism, the emergent union of Nature and the arts, the illuminated shadows of transclassical architecture, the uncharted scientific territory of nanoscale design and the emergent future of communications technology.
Although he dropped out of Harvard twice, by 1983 Fuller taught at over 150 universities, received 47 honorary doctorates and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. Yet perhaps only in the invisible architecture of information in the materials Bucky compiled during his lifetime experiment as Guinea Pig “B” can his methodology of planetary problem solving and scale independent thought be truly understood. Looking closely at his work and the extraordinary collection housed at Stanford University, there will be no doubt that Buckminster Fuller was the prototypical Planetary Citizen and a model for the mobile, connected human and global problem solver of today.
If we could visualize the sweeping arcs and angles of this archival artifact - the collection of Guinea Pig “B” - we would see a beautiful series of intersecting patterns. We might even begin to hear a musical cadence, the sweeping symphony of the evolution of his thoughts and ideas. Fuller himself would have called this the frequency modulations of his partially overlapping scenario Universe. This is a vision worth exploring.